May 22, 2006

LEAP Logo blank2.jpgIn a recent issue of Training Magazine (May 2006), there was an article about the leadership legacy of Jack Welch, the much lauded former CEO of GE.  Jack Welch is revered in business circles for good reason.  He headed one of the largest companies in the world for 20 years, and was responsible for a market value increase from $13B to nearly $400B during his tenure. 

What struck me most about his ideas about leadership was that they he was always focused on people.  Jack Welch looked for authenticity above all other leadership qualities.  He felt that success in business was about treating people well.  And, most interestingly, he wanted the organization to celebrate!  Celebrate the victories, no matter how small.  Have fun and enjoy the work. In his own words:

 "At GE, I preached celebration over and over again.  Somehow it was just in my blood.  I think you have to have fun in the workplace.  There's no excuse for not doing it.  Don't ever be too busy to do it; don't ever be too cheap to do it.  Celebration is one of your biggest obligations."

We could not agree more!  We had a wonderful time at our graduation ceremony.  The LEAPers had an opportunity to present their work, and we had an opportunity to celebrate their creativity!  We had great food, plenty of time to catch up with colleagues, and a chance to see this group shine.  Enjoy these pictures of the LEAP graduation.  It is our hope that the event adequately celebrated the achievements of this fine group of leaders. 

LEAP group picture gay.jpg


I Say “YES!”

May 15, 2006

As promised, I am posting the entire remarks by Donna Moore.  Donna has been a huge inspiration to the entire group.  I mentioned her in a previous post.  She came to the program with a serious fear of public speaking.  The fact that she volunteered to provide commencement remarks is a testament to her will to gain valuable experience from this program.  Here are her remarks.  I hope you find them to be as powerful and ispirational as I did!

"As we concluded our day of learning at LEAP, we were required to evaluate our day. Allow me to evaluate my success as it relates to the Leap Program. I must first know: What success is.  Definition: Success is the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; or a successful performance or achievement. Questions to consider during my evaluation— Did the Leap Program meet its 4 objectives?

  • Developed visionary leadership through practical hands-on experience and classroom training sessions;                
  • Developed awareness of external/internal social and political influences impacting the library system, resulting in effective communication strategies for disseminating information;
  • Developed proactive strategies to address a shifting workplace environment; and
  • Gained an understanding of all overall operations of the library system and how each part works together to support the organization’s mission.

 Allow me to briefly review.

I participated in small group activities and discussions

  • We were given a scenario–the goal was to come up with a solution.
  • I practiced writing a media release which was the introduction of e-audio books.

Objective #1 successfully completed

I discovered the world outside
Memphis Public

Exploring other libraries (Buckman Labortories, SSCC, and St.Mary’s to name a few) and community service based organization ( MIFA,

Center, Bridges &

Museum) helped me in understanding the importance of their individual functions and how they deal with financial funding. Our group would return to MPL to discuss and to report our findings. Objective #2 successfully completed Our small group project has addressed our proactive strategies in a shifting workplace environment.Objective #3 successfully completedThe session “Follow the Book” taught me about each department as the book travels through the library. Our mentors provided the opportunity for us to see their department through their eyes. I’m sure each LEAP participant gained a greater respect and appreciation for the mentors,  as I did. “Challenges throughout the System History/We’ve Come a Long Way Baby”, my personal favorite, was a session that I experienced a sense of awe in learning about the rich history of the library and its memories. It is my belief that if we know where we have come and what it took to get there we can better appreciate where we are today with a more sincere gratitude. Objective #4 successfully completed With objectives completed… Let me share a little about myself so you can understand and appreciate how far I have really come. You see, I learn with my heart, my eyes and my hands. With my heart I gained tremendous life experiences and knowledge of how to be a more effective leader. After taking my online assessment through Team Trek, my god given/ inner core strengths were given a name and a voice. Now what I did and how I did it made sense- We were taught to build upon what you do right. Laying the foundation to build and improve.LEAP opened my eyes and allowed me to see people and myself in a new light. I was blessed with the opportunity to share my LEAP experience with the 11 wonderful leap participants who I have come to admire and appreciate for their talents and leadership skills. So get ready for what is to come; we are–prepared, equipped with the proper information and ready to lead. I could not omit all those who contributed from the beginning to make this a successful program and wonderful environment to learn.I’ve received multitudes of hands-on experience that broadened my views and exposed me to a world of possibilities and opportunities. An unknown author quoted “The right man/ women in the right place at the right time doing the right thing in the right way.” This is how I view my 11 months with LEAP. I thank all who encouraged me to apply. Words can only begin to express how much I have gained through LEAP.Our first session taught me to step outside my comfort zone and into the zone of possibility. Conquer your False Expectations Appearing Real (FEAR).I end where I began to make the circle complete. Evaluating my success as it relates to LEAP. Did LEAP meet their objectives as it related to ME?I say “YES!!!”There is a famous quote that states “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate but that we are powerful beyond measure”What was my fear: “Public Speaking.”I thank you for this opportunity to LEAP; you have made me soar beyond my own expectations. "

Graduation Day!

May 15, 2006

We held the graduation ceremony for our first LEAP group on Thursday, May 11, 2006.  It was a huge success and a proud moment for the members and our Library.  We had an opportunity to hear presentations of the small groups' year-long projects.  We were treated to very professional, engaging mutlimedia presentations on three important issues:  internal communication, cross-training, and customer service modeled after a well-known retail establishment.  There is plenty of food for thought and we will be examining these projects to see how we may apply the concepts to improve our organization. 

 Afterward, two class members made very moving remarks about their individual experiences.  They were such powerful speeches that I will include them in subsequent posts.  Finally, Judith Drescher, our Director and leader par excellence, inspired the group to close the circle and put their experiences into practice. 

 All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon.  I was really touched by the pride each class member displayed.  Any doubts or concerns I had about the quality of the program or its importance for the class members went right out the window.  I look forward to seeing the fruits of our labor.

Managers, How Do You Lead?

May 9, 2006

One of the inevitable questions managers ask themselves is "how to do I model for my staff?"  Good leaders are concerened with the examples they set for the staff in their charge.  They want to motivate staff, provide direction and vision, and demonstrate a commitment to that vision.  So, as leaders in our Library, what can you do to lead your staff?

One important thing you can do is encourage your staff to apply for the LEAP program.  Let them know you value their contribution and have recognized their abilities.  By giving them your support, you are letting them know they are an asset to our system and deserve an opportunity to grow into a leadership position.  This demonstrates commitment to your staff and to the goals of our system. 

The staff will gain invaluable information and experience that will serve your agency well.  They will be armed with a renewed commitment to "satisfying the customer's need to know," while, at the same time, serving as a representative for agency! 

Blogs for Leaders

May 8, 2006

A recent post to our very own LEAP member  Kevin's MPLIC Techtrain blog, http://mplictechtrain.blogspot.com/ made me realize what a tremendous resource the blog world is for everyone, potential leaders included.  His post, "Put Everything in One Place and Be Done with It" underscores the need to have a "management tool" so to speak when sifting the web for information.  The technology that allows you to choose an aggregator and subscribe to blogs is a wonderful opportunity to have relevant, timely leadership information sent to your account.

I have found some great blogs that are very relevant to my position, and to the concept of organizational leadership.  These are just two of the many I have found in my searches: http://www.blogwriteforceos.com/blogwrite/


Take a look at them!  And, use your aggregator to find other blogs and sites that will enhance your leadership reading and learning.  Finally, comment to this post and share what you found!

Where I Went and What I Learned

May 3, 2006

The most recent session was entitled Where I Went and What I Learned.  Each class member submitted an activity, event or opportunity that they wanted to participate in.  They were charged with  analyzing the experience and presenting it to the larger group.  The LEAP class did a wonderful job of presenting their experiences! 

Activities ranged from presenting at a professional conference to participating in a Delivery and Distribution nightly run.  The presenters utilized a variety of presentation styles, from graphic intensive powerpoint shows to a really fun scrapbook that was used as a visual aid. 

I am very pleased with the progress of the class in their public speaking abilities.  In particular, one class member stood with confidence at the podium, spoke clearly and strongly, and fully entertained the group with her comfortable speaking style.  What a contrast!  She was the class member who was reduced to tears in the first session at the prospect of public speaking.  Kudos to her for having the courage to face that fear and develop into a fine speaker!

Why Would You Want to Be in LEAP?

May 3, 2006

I have received quite a few calls this week regarding the application process.  Most were matter of fact questions about having supervisors sign off, the deadline, etc.  But, I had one very interesting question.  "What is going to happen to those who are graduating from the current class?"  In other words, how did they benefit?

 The question gave me pause.  Really what the person was asking was, "What's in it for me?" or WIIFM.  As a trainer, I understand the importance of this concept.  Much of our motivation for learning new concepts, accepting new responsibilities, enrolling in classes, etc. revolves around this question.  Instinctively, I feel that true leaders are motivated intrinsically.  A leader does the right thing because it is right.  A leader avails himself of learning opportunities for self improvement.

However, one cannot discount the importance of the WIIFM.  So, here are some great reasons why you should apply for the program:

  • Candid insight into the history and philosophy of the Library system, as told by its current leadership
  • Continual opportunities to learn new communication skills and techniques, and improve on existing ones
  • Gain a deeper understanding of public relations as it relates to libraries
  • Learn who our major collaborators are
  • Have an opportunity to shadow and model current library leaders

These are just a few of the reasons why you want to consider being a part of this great program.